All posts tagged Demi

The Empty Pot, by Demi

Published April 26, 2014 by Dagmar

empty potMy older students really enjoyed this book.

The Chinese Emperor is looking for someone to succeed him as Emperor.  The Emperor launches a competition.  He provides all the children with seeds to grow.  The child who grows the most beautiful flowers from the seeds will become the new ruler of the empire.

Ping is a child who not only loves flowers but is able to grow beautiful flowers.  When he receives his seed, he plants it and cares for it every day.  Unfortunately, nothing grows.  Ping replants the seed in a new pot.  He changes the soil that the seed is planted in, and still nothing grows.  The children around him are all able to grow beautiful flowers.  When it is time for the children to present their flowers to the Emperor, they laugh at Ping and tell him that he can’t present an empty pot to the Emperor.  Ping’s father overhears the other children and tells Ping that it’s fine to present his best efforts to the Emperor.

On the day that the children present their pots, Ping approaches the Emperor with his empty pot.  The Emperor, much to everyone’s surprise, smiles.  Ping was the only child unable to grow the seed he was given by the Emperor.  Since the Emperor had boiled the seeds before he gave them to the children, not one of the seeds should have grown.  Ping was the only child who was honest about trying to grow only the seed he was given by the Emperor.  Because of his honesty, the Emperor crowns Ping the new Emperor.

My students loved this ending and couldn’t stop talking about how the other children were deceitful and how Ping’s honesty was rewarded.


One Grain of Rice, by Demi a mathematical folktale

Published May 1, 2013 by Dagmar

one grain of riceThis book is a mathematical folk tale.  It also happens to be a great read aloud book, especially for third grade.  Even the most fidgety child is amazed and applauds at the end of the book.  I love the colorful drawings.

Once there was a greedy raja in India who asked all of his subjects to give him nearly all of their rice, so he could store the rice safely in case there came a famine.  However, when the famine came, the raja kept all the peoples’ rice for himself.  One day, a young woman was gathering rice that had dropped from the raja’s baskets onto the road.  She was arrested for stealing and brought before the raja.  The girl, named Rani, cleverly told the raja that she was simply returning the rice to him.  He was pleased and granted her one wish.  She asked him to give her one grain of rice and then double the grains of rice every day for thirty days.  The raja, clearly not clever at math, readily agreed, thinking Rani a fool.  Little did the raja suspect that in thirty days, one grain of rice on day one would result in his giving more than one billion grains of rice by day thirty.  Asking Rani what she would do with the rice she received, Rani replied that she would feed the hungry.  The raja then mended his ways and became a truly wise and fair raja.  The best part of reading this book aloud is always the  “oohs and aahs” I get when I fold out page at the end of the book, showing the 256 elephants it takes to carry the millions of grains of rice the raja had to deliver.